At Monday night’s City Council meeting, Redwood City staff were ready to step back from a plan for a trial lane reduction on Farm Hill Road and move on to other complete streets projects, after public forums garnered mixed response to the proposal.
At the Council meeting, 8 residents spoke in favor of the safety improvements. One spoke against the project in general terms. The residents who spoke shared two different petitions with a total of 75 signatures, including one petition from a parents’ group. Speakers talked about the safety hazards to kids walking to school and older residents wanting to visit friends across the street, and invoked the Complete Streets policy in Redwood City’s General Plan.
Farm Hill Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue connect Highway 280 with Redwood City Downtown. The street also serves Canada College, Stulsaft Park, and is a route that kids use to get to school. In public comment, Lee Wright cited statistics showing that the streets sees about 20 collisions per year. Cars commonly speed down the 4-lane street, with a prevailing speed over 40mph. The street carries 12,000 vehicles per day, less than Edegwood, a similar connection to 280 which has one lane per direction.
The proposed plan would reduce Farm Hill to 3 traffic lanes, including a center turn lane. Studies performed by Redwood City staff show that 3 lanes will be sufficient to meet the capacity while likely reducing speeds and increasing safety. By adding a turn lane, the project would reduce delays for drivers waiting to turn. However, some residents expressed concerns in earlier public meetings that the lane reduction could cause difficulty pulling out of driveways and traffic congestion.
After the public comment period, the Council understood that the key issue from the community was resolving speeding and safety concerns on Farm Hill Blvd. Rather than walking away from the Farm Hill project, the Council directed staff to return with additional options to improve Farm Hill Blvd safety. Council Member Gee asked for a more comprehensive view including a vision of how the project would connect to Cañada Collage at the top of Farm Hill.
The logic behind the schedule for the proposed trial is that Farm Hill is scheduled for repaving in February. The trial would have allowed the results to be evaluated before the repaving, enabling a decision about whether to make the changes permanent. It is not clear how the search for less controversial solutions will be integrated into the schedule.
If you want to pay attention to this project and encourage safety improvements on Farm Hill and Jefferson, sign this petition, and you will be kept up to date with opportunities to take action.